Cu Chi Tunnels — the immense interconnecting network of tunnels which served as a hiding place, living quarters and barracks for Vietnamese soldiers and their families during the war — are arguably one of the most historically significant destinations in southern Vietnam. Steeped in a history that’s central to the Vietnam/American War in the late 60s and 70s, Cu Chi Tunnels have become a major attraction for tourists visiting the sunny south. But like plenty of tourist attractions in Southeast Asia, Cu Chi has gained the reputation for being less a “must-see” and more of a “should skip”.
Why? Because visitors often don’t have a full understanding of how and why the Cu Chi Tunnels are incredible artifacts of a turbulent history. Many see little more than a series of narrow tunnels and hidden entrance points in the jungle floor. But at Buffalo Tours, we know that with the right information, an expert guide and a more exciting way of getting there, the Cu Chi Tunnels are probably one of the very best places to visit in southern Vietnam.
These are the 5 reasons why we think Cu Chi Tunnels should be at the top of your to-do list in Vietnam — and why you should go there with us!
1. Cu Chi Tunnels are a feat of Vietnamese ingenuity.
Anyone who explores Vietnam’s tumultuous war history will quickly realize that the Vietnamese guerrilla fighters were constantly outsmarting, out-engineering and out-performing on the battlefield. Cu Chi Tunnels are perhaps one of the best examples of that ingenuity, since they were literally built by hand, a few meters at a time as they were needed.
But beyond just the painstaking process of creating the tunnels, they were the Vietnamese army’s best defense against enemy attack, since they often passed beneath American bases without detection. Seeing them for yourself is the closest you can get to the lengths Vietnamese were willing to go to survive — and it’s nothing short of incredible.
2. They are an incredible testament to the country’s history.
Vietnam was ravaged during wartime, with plenty of the buildings, bases and monuments during those torrid years completely destroyed. Cu Chi Tunnels, though, remain fairly intact and similar to how they appeared during the time of the war, making them one of the best preserved artifacts of the Vietnam/American War.
And unlike many historical buildings in Vietnam which have since been refurbished into working buildings, offices and living spaces, Cu Chi Tunnels’ only renovations were to illustrated what they must have looked like during the war era. Visiting them is your best bet at stepping into the past, and witnessing what Vietnam would have looked like decades ago.
3. You can literally touch history.
Although much of the Cu Chi tunnels are closed for safety, there’s plenty you can touch and experience. More of a playground than a museum, Cu Chi Tunnels are one of the few places you can literally climb inside and take a look around — which not only makes for a great experience, but some great photos, too!
More than anything, Cu Chi Tunnels is a great place to get a hands-on look at Vietnamese history. Few other places in southern Vietnam allow you to get so close to the history of the locals.
4. Getting there can be an adventure.
Cu Chi Tunnels isn’t especially far from central Saigon, but getting there often means braving the chaotic roads of greater Ho Chi Minh City. That is, unless you take to the city’s natural highways and brave the water instead! Buffalo Tours’ Cu Chi Tunnels by Saigon River is a perfect combination of historical sightseeing and river cruise, with plenty to see along the way.
And since Saigon River is uncommonly calm in comparison to the city’s roads — and passes by some of the lesser-known areas in Ho Chi Minh City — it’s a perfect chance to see southern Vietnam from a different perspective. Unlike a bumpy ride along the road, a boat ride to Cu Chi Tunnels is something of a two-in-one travel experience!
5. With an expert guide, the tunnels come to life.
While the tunnels themselves are a sight to behold, the real heart and soul of their history is from the people themselves. An expert guide is your best bet at getting a glimpse at the history of the tunnels and why they were truly a feat of engineering and ingenuity. Only they can tell you the stories of the underground schools, restaurants and homes that housed thousands of Vietnamese for years. Their stories of the incredible ways that the tunnels helped thousands of Vietnamese soldiers and families survive the war is part of what makes Cu Chi Tunnels such an incredible place to visit.
See history come to life! Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels with Buffalo Tours and journey by boat along the Saigon River.